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Anaemia in pregnancy linked to adverse maternal complications, preterm birth

27 Jul 2019

Mothers with anaemia during pregnancy are at heightened risks of developing peri-, intra- or postpartum complications and preterm delivery, a study has found.

The retrospective study included 2,869,415 women aged 18–34 years at delivery, among whom a total of 284,780 (9.9 percent) were diagnosed with anaemia during pregnancy.

Compared with those without the condition, anaemic mothers were more likely to be younger (<18 vs 18–34 years: relative risk [RR], 1.3, 95 percent CI, 1.3–1.4), Asian (RR, 1.1, 1.1–1.1) or Black (RR, 2.4, 2.3–2.4), and entered into prenatal care after the first trimester or with less than adequate prenatal care (RRs, 1.2–1.3). Anaemic mothers also had a higher likelihood of having a body mass index outside of the normal range, drug abuse/dependence, smoking and nulliparity (RRs, 1.1–2.2).

In terms of outcomes, anaemia during pregnancy was significantly associated with hypertension, diabetes, placental abruption, chorioamnionitis, blood transfusion requirement and admission to the intensive care unit (adjusted RRs, 1.2–6.8).

Furthermore, infants born to anaemic mothers were at increased risk of being born preterm (8.9 percent vs 6.5 percent) but not of developing morbidities associated with prematurity.

The researchers acknowledged that they were not able to clarify the timing of the onset of anaemia within the pregnancy, or if treatment was attempted. Additional investigations are warranted to guide more specific recommendations for identifying and treating maternal anaemia.

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